2024 Retro Edition – March Week 2

What’s your call?

3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Click to reveal awards

August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, Allan Falk, Geoff Hampson, Betty Ann Kennedy, Daniel Korbel, Mike Lawrence, Roger Lee, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Steve Weinstein
What does partner have?

Falk thinks he’s probably “the lone voice in the wilderness” bidding 3♠, but he’s not! “I am sure partner has a good hand. With a sub-minimum hand, say 4=5=0=4 that doubled based on distribution, North would pass 2NT. My hearts are OK, but I’m not worth 4♣ and, if partner is short in clubs, 3NT is probably right. Because I don’t know which game to play, I’ll let partner know that I have uncertainty and perhaps he will know what to do.”

Weinstein bids 3♠. “Partner is accepting our game invitation with 4–5 in the majors. There aren’t enough high-card points for him to have a huge hand, and with just hearts and a good hand, he would have balanced 2. 3♠ shows our four-card spade suit and good clubs — we wouldn’t have bid 2NT holding four spades without a good club stopper. With bad spades, partner can choose 3NT. Usually 4♠ will play a trick better than 3NT if partner has good spades.”

3♠ by Sanborn: “I denied spades once. It is not my job to do it again. The 4–4 fit, if we have it, should play at least a trick better than notrump. Partner will know that I chose notrump over spades the first time and can still slide back to 3NT with bad spades.”

3♠ from Kennedy. “I’ve already said I have a balanced hand with opening points, so 3♠ is forcing.”

The Sutherlins agree that 3♠ is forcing. “We may still have a 4–4 spade fit. “If partner bids 3NT, do we sit or bid 4?”

“This hand could play in several games,” says Stack, who chooses 3NT. “4♠ and 4 are also possibilities. It is even possible there could be slam in a major. Because there is no clear continuation that will get us to the correct game in the majors, and because there’s a possibility of three club stoppers holding ♣A J 10 x, let’s bid the obvious 3NT.”

Korbel bids 3NT. “It’s not clear to me if partner’s 3 call shows tons of extra values, but I do believe it is 100% forcing. I don’t fit hearts and have the other suits pretty nicely stopped (especially clubs), so I’ll offer him 3NT. If he cuebids at the four level, I will offer encouragement.”

3NT by Lawrence: “This auction should show a good hand from North. If he has a weak double, he just passes 2NT.”

3NT by Meyers: “3 is offering a choice of games in my book.”

There’s a healthy contingent voting for the 4♣ cuebid. Colchamiro explains. “Of course 3 is forcing, and my hand offers good chances for slam if partner has the good hand he has shown. The question is, what would partner have bid with:

♠K x A Q J x x A Q x x ♣x x

in the balancing seat? To me, that is a 1 call, not double, so I’m presuming partner has more, one way or the other. In context, my red kings and ♣A are huge.”

“4♣ — finally an easy one!” exclaims Rigal. “If we cannot cuebid here, when can we? We showed up to a minimum opening and partner is unlimited. By the way, spades can’t be our trump suit. Partner would cuebid 3♣ with both majors, even if he was 4–5 in spades and hearts.”

Lee leaps to life. “4♣. I have a pretty big hand. To me, partner is showing a hand too good to overcall 1, and we can tell that it’s probably based on shape and not just points. Having the ♣A here with minimal waste in the suit is really big. I would guess partner has a singleton club to justify his aggressive bidding. 3NT by me here would usually be based on a slow club holding such as ♣K Q x x, which is not useful opposite a singleton.”

Boehm adds up the assets — “Nice support and minimal waste in spades” — and whips out the 4♣ cuebid. “Might catch:

♠x A Q J x x x A J x ♣K x x

or similar to produce a slam.”

“Something doesn’t add up,” says Hampson, who also bids 4♣. “But I have a great hand for partner anyway.”

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